The atlatl competition at the Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump Saturday and Sunday saw 42 entrants take up historic weapons and try their hand at throwing spears.
“You know what you call a really bad atlatl hunter?” said Elaine Morse, who was “just helping out” at the competition by driving participants through the course in a golf cart. “A vegetarian.”
Ralph Heydlauff, who helped organize and run the competition with his brother David, said the turnout was pretty good on Sunday but Saturday’s was lower due to the rain.
The Heydlauff brothers are members of the Atlatl Association and reside in Alberta. They have been helping run the competition about 10 years ago.
Those who entered the competition started out at the practice area, where David and Ralph Heydlauff and Chuck Gehringer were instructing beginners on the proper technique of using an atlatl. When entrants geared up and felt ready for the course, they were taken down a path where they took turns with the members of their groups to get two shots at each of the six targets in the course.
The last target on the course was a moving, buffalo-shaped target. Competitors lined up to take a shot at the target at the same time.
The Historical Society of Havre and the Bullhook Bottom’s Black Powder Club sponsored the competition.
Gehringer, a member of the Black Powder Club, said, “We try to do a lot for the community.”
The club is a civic organization that hosts events in which members and others can shoot black powder muzzleloaders and black powder cartridge guns. The next meeting will be the 34th annual Memorial Day shoot at Fort Assinniboine.
The winners of this year’s atlatl competition were posted Sunday evening.
Ralph Heydlauff teaches Blake Taylor, 6, how to throw an atlatl Saturday morning during the Wahkpa Chu'gn Buffalo Jump's annual atlatl competition.
• In the youth category, for 0-5-year olds, Mercedes Riggin took first place.
• In the junior category, for 6-12-year-olds, Savannah Riggin took first, Kale Hemmer took second and Trevor Beck took 3rd.
• In the teenage category, for 13-19-year-olds, Andrew Potter took first, Ben Seigel took second and Eliah David took third.
• In the adult women’s category, Katrina Hinckley took first, Rebecca David took second, and Alexandra Seigel took third.
• In the men’s adult category, Trevor McCullough took first, Scott Seigel took second and Dan Lynch took third.
Anna Brumley, the site manager, said the prizes were $100 for first place in each division, $50 for second-place winners, and a $25 gift certificate was given to third-place winners. The youth group winner was given a $25 gift certificate.